Thursday, 8 March 2012

Lakes and Wales

A double header this weekend. Another couple of Wainwrights visited on Saturday and a trip to a couple of new to me crags on Sunday.

The fells on the western edge of the Lakes are pretty remote for those of us that don't live in West Cumberland hence there's a reasonable number of outlying tops that I've never been to. As usual they aren't in convenient groups so it's a case of picking off the odd top here and there. Having dropped Cath off in Broughton to go mountain biking I headed over a very foggy Corney Fell to the west coast and then up towards Ennerdale Bridge. The targets were Lank Rigg and Grike, the westernmost fell in the Lakes. 

Unusually the walk began with a long steady descent in to an intervening valley. It was while walking along this that I heard the sound of fell hounds braying, eventually I saw them on the skyline and after a few minutes they were scouring the hillside. The next time I looked a fox, their quarry, was heading towards me and was perhaps only 50 metres away. Five minutes later and the hounds swept past me, pausing only to sniff me and check that I wasn't what they were after. Then once again the valley fell quiet and it was on with the walk.

The clag hadn't lifted by the time I got to the summit of Lank Rigg so it was on over the interestingly named Whoap to join up with the route of the Ennerdale Horseshoe. While sheltering behind the Ennerdale Fence (actually a substantial stone wall) some of the hunt followers went by, so obviously the fox was still evading them. I wasn't totally sure if I'd been on Crag Fell so visited the top just to make sure, then it was on over boggy ground to Grike before heading back to the car just before a heavy shower passed over.

The clag had cleared by now and there were wonderful views of the western fells on the way back.

Looking in to Wasdale from the west coast road.

With a band of rain passing over the country, Sunday's plan was to head west and get the other side of it. We ended up at Dyserth climbing on a couple of south facing crags that were out of the chill NW wind. Our first venue was Waterfall Crag where we did six routes which were pleasant enough - without seriously upping our game to get on the routes over the big roof we effectively did all the routes we could.

Myself climbing at Waterfall Crag

The second crag was Dyserth Castle Quarry which is basically an easy angled, 60deg or so, slab with four main routes from F6a to F6b+. Genesis, the 6b+, was the best of the lot as the rock was reasonable quality, that on the others was very friable and just the weight of the rope rubbing across the surface was enough to loosen material. I didn't lead any of these as I don't seem to have got my head in order regarding climbing and was also concerned about my knees should I fall.

Gaz on the F6a+ at the right side of the main slab

Mike casting a shadow on Genesis - F6b+ on the main slab at Dyserth Castle.

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